Saturday, June 19, 2010

National Kazoo Day is January 28: No Kidding

National Kazoo Day
"January 28, 2010"

"National Kazoo Week - January 25-31, 2010"

"National Kazoo Day 2010 will be celebrated on Thursday, Jan. 28th which is the fourth Thursday of January.

"Most Kazoo aficionados know that National Kazoo Day may be celebrated on January 28, or the fourth Thursday of January, or any other day during that period deemed convenient by kazooists.

"May you all enjoy a HAPPY NEW KAZOO YEAR!

"This year we commemorate the 160th birthday of the Kazoo -- an American instrument invented in the 1840s in Macon, GA. Legend tell us the kazoo was invented by collaboration of Alabama Vest (American black) and Thaddeus Von Clegg (German-American clockmaker)...."

This is a new one to me: and I haven't thoroughly researched National Kazoo Day, but there are quite a few references to it online. Which doesn't prove much, one way or the other. Here's some of what I found:
"National Kazoo Day"
Holiday Insights

"When: Always January 28th

"People young and old love Kazoos. Kazoo Day celebrates the the joy of this musical instrument.

"Alabama Vest of Macon Georgia made the first Kazoo in the 1840's. Actually, he conceived the Kazoo, and had Thaddeus Von Clegg, a German clockmaster make it to his specifications.

"Commercial production of the Kazoo didn't occur until many years later in 1912. Manufacturing was first started by Emil Sorg in Western New York. Sorg joined up with Michael McIntyre, a Buffalo tool and die maker. Production moved to Eden, NY where the factory museum remains today...."
"Humming Right Along: The Kazoo Marks 160th Birthday"
AolNews (January 27, 2010)

"This year marks the 160th anniversary of the kazoo, and perhaps no musical instrument is more universal – and universally misunderstood.

"Although the instrument has been used by such greats as Jimi Hendrix on 'Crosstown Traffic,' the ease with which any amateur can toot on the buzz-worthy instrument has led to it being unfairly maligned.

"As one old joke goes: 'What do you call a kazoo player with a union card?'

" 'Optimistic.'..."
"The Kazoo: A Historical Perspective"
HMT - Instruments > Music Articles

"The following piece was rescued from the bottom of a box of packing material in the shed in back of the House of Musical Traditions, inside a very beat up and moldy carton marked "North County Dulcimers." And indeed, Robert D. Hutchinson of North Country Dulcimers bravely wrote us in July of 2002 to claim authorship. The box has since been consigned to the trash heap. We thought the article deserved a slightly better fate.

"While major kazoo research has been minimal for the past decade, those willing to explore the record will find the kazoo to have a long and fascinating history. Though some revisionist Biblical scholars would have kazoos, not trumpets, bringing down the walls of Jericho for the Israelites, substantial rumor place the origins of this instrument with the Roman military kazoo bands that led Caesar's legions against the hordes of Vercingetorix in 52 BCE. The record fades, of course, with the decline of Rome; however, through the oral tradition, we can follow the development of the kazoo within the Kingdom of Charlemagne, along the Mediterranean Crusade routes, and even across the English Channel with the more lyrical vassals of William the Conqueror...."
Before anybody has a stroke: the African/William the Conqueror/anti-Vercingetorix stories aren't necessarily at odds with each other. Take a look at a globe: Europe (where France and Rome are) is just north of Africa. All that separates the two areas is the Mediterranean. Which has known shipping for thousands of years.

People move around. Often for commercial purposes. It shouldn't be any surprise that essentially the same simple musical instrument was made in two adjacent areas.

Me? I wouldn't be surprised to learn that kazoos were invented in Assyria. Or China.

The one thing I'm sure of is that they're easy to play - and fun.

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